Ross Kennedy is founder of Fortis Analysis, a group that seeks supply chain, manufacturing, and policy solutions that reinforce – not weaken – the natural rights of people everywhere. In a recent exclusive interview with The Epoch Times, Kennedy offered a number of warnings about Fufeng Group USA, a China-based agribusiness that's reportedly on its way to Grand Forks, North Dakota, by 2024 or 2025. The Fortis Analysis founder is particularly concerned about the bio-fermentation company's ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), whose human-rights abuses are well documented (see below).
Apart from the national security risk, Kennedy tells American Family News there are also concerns about Fufeng's use of forced labor at its China-based subsidiaries, like the Xinjiang Fufeng Biotechnologies facility. Some of those concerns have caused many in the local community to push back on the idea of introducing the new plant. In fact, the Grand Forks Herald recently reported that a petition has moved the project to a citywide referendum.
But according to Kennedy, "the chatter coming out of Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Fargo is that the governor and state legislators are already working on a plan to push this project through anyway."
Kennedy explains the Fufeng Group is able to fund its expansion into places like Grand Forks through U.S. subsidiaries "because of the competitive advantage and financial revenues they receive from participating in forced labor from China." He indicates the Grand Forks government is fully aware of this – "[So] they can't ignore it or say they didn't know."
Guilty by association
In July 2021, the U.S. Department of State released a statement indicating that the People's Republic of China (PRC) government "continues to carry out genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang), China."
Furthermore, Kennedy says, the report clearly expressed that "there is an extreme moral, ethical, and commercial hazard for doing business with firms who operate in that region."
The State Department report adds: "The PRC's crimes against humanity include imprisonment, torture, rape, forced sterilization, and persecution, including through forced labor and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement."
Kennedy offers a warning: "For anyone who willfully ignores this, the State Department is essentially saying that they are complicit in [aiding and abetting] the crimes against humanity going on in that part of the world by doing business with these firms.
"The behaviors and things [those firms] are doing are so reprehensible that really the only choice is to cut them off completely and treat them essentially as a genocidal regime."
The Fufeng Group, he argues, qualifies for such treatment.
"If an entity knowingly does business with firms that have operations and revenue sources in Xinjiang, which Fufeng Group does, then the United States government is going to start making the choice to hold these entities accountable for participating with them," he predicts.
Can't claim ignorance
"Absence of evidence to say otherwise, such entities are assumed to be both aware of and okay with participating commercially with companies that violate the human rights of others," Kennedy continues.
"In the case of the city council of Grand Forks, they have been informed publicly and repeatedly that the China-based Fufeng Group, which is the parent entity Fufeng Group USA, appears to participate in forced labor," Kennedy tells AFN. "[But] they're choosing to continue to move forward in bringing in and allowing Fufeng to funnel revenues [from forced labor] into the United States to establish operations in Grand Forks."
The Fortis Analysis founder is hopeful the U.S. government will commit the investigative resources necessary to ascertain if someone at the local level is benefitting financially and/or at risk legally from knowing the truth about the Fufeng Group – and choosing to move forward regardless.